Seeing U2’s monumental 360 tour in Seattle last month left me reminiscing for weeks about all the shows that came before and the evolution of the stadium concert experience. My first arena show was in the early 80s when I was lucky enough to catch Def Leppard at the Oakland Coliseum on their Pyromania tour. My friend’s parents dropped us off on their way to see Harry Belafonte (I kid you not!). We waved goodbye to their station wagon and exchanged a “I can’t believe they actually let us come” look. Then we were off on our slow walk to the entrance, passing guys with long hair, chicks in spikey boots, Camaros blasting “F-f-f-foolin!” and vendors hawking bootleg cassettes and t-shirts. Once inside the arena, the collective vibration was staggering as we enjoyed a four hour rock and laser extravaganza, featuring opening band Uriah Heep and ended with Joe “waterfall-mullet” Elliot taking off his Union Jack shirt to reveal one with an American flag during the encore. If this was what all stadium shows were like, I was hooked.
Of course, wouldn’t we all rather see our favorite legendary musicians in a small club? Of course!... Read More